It's not exactly unusual for a car to catch on fire after getting rear-ended at more than 100 miles an hour.

That's the argument that BYD is making on the issue of the most recent setback – that an all-electric BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen exploded, killing the driver and two passengers, after being rear-ended by a sports car going about 112 miles per hour – according to both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The China-based automaker repeated the fact that the batteries used in the e6 have passed abuse tests without catching fire.

BYD, whose investors include Warren Buffet, has seen its shares fall by more than 40 percent since February, according to the Times. Meanwhile, BYD's car sales through April fell eight percent from a year earlier, even though overall auto sales in China rose six percent, indicating that the company's vehicles are falling out of favor. The company is now hoping that more aggressive Chinese government investment in electric-drive vehicles will help both development and sales. China's finance ministry has said it plans to fund as much as $315 million worth of annual hybrid and electric vehicle development.

In April, BYD said that the 186-mile single-charge range e6 would start U.S. sales by year end, echoing similar claims made for a U.S. launch in 2010 and 2011. BYD also has an agreement with Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler to build a battery-electric vehicle called the Denza, which is slated to start production next year. BYD opened its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles late last year.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      Pandabear
      • 1 Day Ago
      True, most likely no car battery will be safe when crashed at 100mph, but I think the problem is more about the car not having good enough safety standard rather than the battery being LFP.
      SNP
      • 1 Day Ago
      The company's vehicles carry no value. People in china do not live like americans with suburbs and driveways. When they park at home, there's barely enough space to open the side doors, or have a full size kitchen. Most homes in china with easy access to enough electricity to power a car are very cramped. Several familys to a building and a small parking spot for your moped. The typical middle income metro citizen makes about 10-30kUSD, they wont blow their money on a vehicle that costs twice as much as a gas version when the govt has a cap on fuel prices.
      Gary
      • 1 Day Ago
      I can find any news if the driver that caused the crash has been arrested yet. The country that I live in you can get away clean after an accident like this if you pay the right people.
        Pandabear
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Gary
        The "supposed" driver turn himself in, but most people think it is a paid substitute who offer to take on the crime for the wealthy and powerful real driver.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 1 Day Ago
      there is something to be said for the robustness of lifepo chemistry that will refuse to catch fire almost no matter what you do to it including piercing it with metallic spears, short circuiting, overcharging and bake them in an oven. it's a shame that A123 is working so hard on going bankrupt then
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I believe DaveMart is correct. Although BYD has made most of their money with more conventional Li-Ions for use in phones and laptops, I believe the Li-Ions they make for autos are a LiFePO4 variant. But as I've said many times, all battery chemistry mixes (and all other energy storage systems) are dangerous to some degree. Any system you use to bottle up that much potential energy has risks.
          DarylMc
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          Hi marcopolo No one wants to say it but when it comes to EV's the end result of an impact far greater than what is tested could cause some problems. Maybe it's less than a gasoline vehicle or maybe it's more but I think it should be confronted even for an unsurvivable impact. It's going to happen eventually. Gasoline vehicles have had a number of decades of real world destruction to manage or at least accept the outcome.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec, I agree with you. Although BYD vehicles in the PRC may not be built to the highest safety standards, in the end no safety standard can be economically devised to withstand extreme impacts to any device designed to store large amounts of energy.
          DarylMc
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          I'm sure most people here know that around the world over 1 million people per year die on the roads.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        That was my understanding about the chemistry. Unfortunately that is what BYD uses: 'BYD’s "Fe" lithium iron phosphate battery,' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery